By Jared Chausow
By Katie Toth
By Elizabeth Flock
By Albert Samaha
By Anna Merlan
By Jon Campbell
By Jon Campbell
By Albert Samaha
Like The French, radical black folk are genetically predisposed to support all signs of insurrection, insurgency, and revolutionary suicide wherever in the known universe they rear their lovely and indignant little heads. That said, some observers of the current American progressive scene have accurately noted OWS's paucity of participants proudly gleaming signs of African descent and dissent. Herewith a few of our idle speculations as to wherefore art thou anti-capitalist Negroid rabble-rousers riled up over any of the causes now being featured at Zuccotti Park.
10. YOUR BASIC SOAP-AND-WATER THEORY We love the funkmetaphorically speaking. Ditto goes for colored folk's oft-stated ardor for all things "gully", "gritty," "grimy," and "dirty south." But you out your nat'chall black mind if you think hordes of y'all people will be thronging any protest site that gotta be quarantined, evacuated, or sanitized before the party for rights can continue. Whether from the boojie middle rungs or the bootylicious lower depths, black folk generally refuse to accept the bummy notion that good politics and good grooming need be mutually exclusive. And that whole open-air-food-prep-and-serving-line thing? Not so good a look in many a woogie's book. Strictly family backyard barbecue action. Bottom line: Black folk do demos, but they don't do dirtespecially all those white-gloved and odoriferous-sensitive sisters who easily account for 80 percent of OWS's sideline African Friends Group.
REASONS WHY WE SHOULD ANYWAY Nomadic African women can make a lean-to look palatial in the outback. OWS could surely benefit from an Afrocentric woman's touch. OWS would become known instead as "Occupy and De-Uglify Wall Street." Imagine the difference made by scented candles, patchouli, potted plants, and colorful fabrics. Imagine her rage for spotless and sterilized surfaces set loose on Liberty Street. A rage so bordering on OCD, Pigpen himself would be too shook to leave behind one speck of unconsecrated crud. Yoga in the morning, African dance in the afternoon, prayer and meditation before bed, goddess and ancestor worship all the live-long day. That OWS shiznit would get friggin' spiritual. OWS would get closer to godliness than the Garden of Eden. No silly housecleaning ruses would ever be thrown up again.
9. OUR ABSENCE AS RADICAL LOVE Our sincere desire to see OWS stay alive has us coordinating scant, sporadic, barely visible visits to Zuccotti Park. Hence OWS doesn't come off as "A Black Thang." Because we know that once deemed so, Mike Bloomberg and Ray Kelly would feel compelled to set more upon the movement than decrepit desk sergeants with pepper spray. No longer would cops find the heart to wade alone into the crowds of wan young figures with no backup and meaty fists a' swinging. As Sterling Brown once observed, when they come after even one Stagolee, "They don't come by Ones/They don't come by Twos/They come by Tens." Trust. Thanks to our overwhelming no-show of numbers, 49,000 shots haven't been fired at OWS yet.
8. THE NIGGAS ARE SCARED OR BORED OF REVOLUTION THEORY Say whut? Since when? When it comes to showing radical heart, we damn sure got nothing to prove. Protest history shows our folk couldn't be turned around by deputized terrorists armed with dynamite, firebombs, C4, tanks, AKs, machine guns, fixed bayonets, billy clubs, K-9 corps, truncheons, or water hoses. Stop-and-frisk has prepped most brothers to anticipate a cell block visit just for being Slewfoot While Black. We ain't never been skeered of fighting the good fight. We love a good dust-up on pay-per-view or in the street just on GP! Out there on the street, though, all we need is to feel like you got our backs like we got yours. Herein might lie the rub. People fresh to daily struggle may need to earn our trust more. Clearly we're in no hurry to make loads of new friends spanking new to police brutality.
7. THE OWS BEST GO GET A LATE-PASS THEORY The sudden realization by OWS-ers that American elites never signed the social contract and will sell the people out for a fat cat's dimehey, no news flash over here. Black folk got wise to the game back in 1865 when we realized neither 40 acres nor a mule would be forthcoming. Also, as one sharp strapping ready for whatever you got youngblood recently put it, "I ain't about to go get arrested with some muhfuhkuhs who just figured out yesterday that this shit ain't right."
REASONS WHY WE SHOULD RECONSIDER BEFRIENDING NU PEOPLE VIRGIN TO DAILY NYPD ASSWHUPPINGS Repeatedly finding oneself on the business end of a NYPD nightstick and expecting the same result is either a sign of madness or a sign of virtual blacknuss. Either way, even your most hardened Pan-Afrikanist should now be open to giving the OWS-ers a hug of solidarity. Maybe if organized, this form of outreach could function as the larger community's first olive branch. (Air kisses and arms length for some snooty African noses still, I know).
6. THE PRISON INDUSTRIAL COMPLEX CRICKETS THEORY The predominant age range of OWS's paler male participants is roughly 18-29. This age group among African American cats accounts for 40 percent of the country's prison populationa national crisis which predates the bailout by several decades. This disgraceful disparity could likely continue after every OWS-er has been gainfully reabsorbed into the American workforce. Although Wall Street profits from our brothers' massive enslavement by incarceration, so does Main Street. Perhaps OWS should ponder putting prison abolition on their unformulated list of demands. Until then, some black progressives, though duly sympathetic, might not hear a roar coming from Zuccotti but simply crickets.